Netanyahu backed Israel into an isolated corner
Op-ed: What happened to the prime minister’s declarations about Israel’s unprecedented international relations during his term? And why did he choose to punish Senegal and New Zealand, but avoided recalling the ambassadors from Washington, Moscow, London and Paris for ‘consultations’?
This past weekend, however, the prime minister recalled the Israeli ambassador from Dakar for consultations and cancelled all Israeli aid to Senegal. New Zealand was punished for its Security Council vote as well, and the Israeli ambassador in Wellington will also be spending the New Year vacation in Israel.
So what happened to Netanyahu’s declarations that Israel is enjoying unprecedented international relations during his term? And why did he choose to punish Senegal and New Zealand, but avoided summoning our ambassadors in Washington, Moscow, London and Paris for “consultations”? The prime minister’s conduct can only be defined as “Netanyahu is not afraid of the weak.”
Barbara Tuchman, whose book “The March of Folly” describes countries that make decisions against their real interests and conduct their affairs in a self-destructive mode, would have likely added Netanyahu’s behavior to the list. After four terms as prime minister, he has backed Israel into an extremely isolated corner – and is, God forbid, turning it into an outcast among the nations. This is nothing less than terrible.
But after the shock, it’s important to stress that this isn’t the end of the world: The reality that has been created in the territories since 1967 is stronger than any UN resolution, the Palestinians will remain with just a piece of paper for now, and not a single settler will be required to find an alternative home.
The international community’s decision serves, more than anything, as a wakeup call for the Israeli leadership to do something, to initiate a real renewal of the talks with the Palestinians. The Palestinian people will not disappear, and the international community won’t leave us alone. We can no longer assume that America will keep providing us with a sweeping strategic umbrella, not even during the Trump era.
The Obama administration put Netanyahu in his place. America is unwilling to tolerate a situation in which the leader of a small country, which relies on the United States for its actual existence, thinks he can do whatever he wants, including an attempt to get President Obama down on his knees through a Congress speech. We should assume that this may repeat itself in the Trump administration as well. We have already seen Republican presidents who acted against the Israeli interest and in favor of the American interest. For example, the Reagan administration, which launched an open dialogue with the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
This past weekend, our magician lost his magic. Netanyahu was “kicked out,” as he says, not only from his home on Jerusalem’s Balfour Street, but also from the United Nations building on New York’s 1st Avenue.